Other than the spray, skunks have few defenses, so a skunk prefers to conserve his resources whenever possible. A skunk will typically give a lot of warning before spraying. He will raise his tail and shake it warningly. A skunk generally prefers to exit the scene with no spraying involved. Dogs tend to rush right up to skunks, as they would to another dog standing there with his tail up, and this is why dogs so often get sprayed.
That Skunk Doesn’t WANT to Spray You (or Your Dog)
That Skunk Doesn't WANT to Spray You (or Your Dog) – WildCare
People generally relate skunks to the foul-smelling, defensive spray they discharge when scared or threatened. Many people have experienced this unpleasant odor along roadways and on dogs that have come in contact with skunks. Generally, people avoid skunks and have little tolerance for their presence. In many parts of North America, skunks are the major carriers of rabies.
Skunks are legendary for powerful predator-deterrent, a hard-to-remove, horrible-smelling spray. Most who have been skunked say the smell is indescribably horrible, and many find it literally nauseating. Officially, skunks are a part of the Mephitidae family. They are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal material and changing their diets as the seasons change.
Skunks are known for their discharge, an obnoxious odor when provoked. This is released primarily in self-defense. A skunk can release a spray of oily liquid as far as feet and spray up to six times in succession. The fluid is painful if it gets in a person's or pet's eyes and may cause temporary blindness for about 15 minutes.